Overseas

Information for families during the coronavirus outbreak

Contents

01   Information for families returning from BATUK/Nairobi/Nepal

These instructions are written for those families who have been evacuated from BATUK or Nepal to Service Family Accommodation (SFA) or the Cotswold Centre. Any family who does not fall into this category will have a different entitlement and should contact their unit admin team for assistance.

Pay & allowances

Will we receive Disturbance Expense, as we have moved to the UK, even if only temporarily?
Disturbance Expense will be paid for this emergency move, at the rate appropriate to the type of accommodation being moved into. This can be affected though by the reason you left the country, if you do not plan to return overseas or plan to stay in private accommodation (including staying with relatives).

Will I receive any support to pay for WiFi and telephone charges?
The MOD has exceptionally authorised a change to policy for the duration of COVID-19 related evacuation only.

This will allow families to be able to claim back their actual costs, up to a maximum of £55 per week. This is designed to cover a mobile top-up card and a WiFi pay-as-you-go card. This will remain in payment for the duration of the evacuation period.

We claim CEA, will returning to the UK affect our eligibility?
The MOD has already introduced some flexibility to the CEA regulations, to reassure families that any changes due to COVID-19 will not affect their eligibility. Please see our COVID-19 allowances page for more details.

If we choose to live in our own private accommodation, will the Army help with costs?
If a family chooses to move into private accommodation through private rental or family support, costs will not be met from public funds. 

Will we still receive Local Overseas Allowance (LOA) whilst in the UK?
As an exception, where the family has returned to the UK and the serving person remains overseas, the accompanied rate LOA will continue to be paid.

If it is decided that the family will not return overseas, the Service person will receive unaccompanied rate of LOA.

Will we receive Longer Separation Allowance (LSA), if the Service person remains overseas and we are still receiving LOA?
As the serving person remaining overseas will receive the accompanied rate of LOA, they will not be eligible for LSA.

Can I claim an advance of pay?
Service personnel cannot claim an advance of pay, unless there is no intention for the Service person or the family to return to their overseas location.

An advance may be paid under special circumstances, if authorised by the CO.

The Service person should contact their unit admin team for more information and to be fully aware of the repayment methods and implications.

Do we need to close our overseas bank account?
As the return to the UK is temporary, there is no requirement for personnel to close overseas bank accounts.

If the Service person and their family are definitely not returning to their overseas location, and if time allows, they should consider closing their accounts.

Can I claim my allowances before I arrive back in the UK?
Given the timeframe, it is unlikely that the unit admin team will be able to pre-authorise all allowances. Therefore, some will need to claim retrospectively on arrival in the UK.

I have a pet.  Will the MOD help with this?
The MOD does not take responsibility for the relocation or welfare of pets, or any related costs.

If families experience a loss of personal items due to evacuation can a claim be made?
No, initially all such claims should be made through personal insurance policies.

Will we receive any travel expenses?
Only where onward travel from the airport to the temporary accommodation is not provided through Services sources, may families claim reasonable travel expenses.

Can I claim excess baggage?
If travel is by commercial means, families may claim extra charges for up to 25kg excess baggage per family member.

If I am already stranded in the UK, will I receive some subsistence?
Where families were stranded in the UK before the formal evacuation order was issued, there is no entitlement to PAR or subsistence, until the date when the family member is joined by the rest of the family in the UK.

Housing

I am already paying for my SFA overseas. Will I also have to pay for my SFA in the UK?
Families will not be charged for their SFA in the UK. They will continue to pay for their SFA overseas. This will be reviewed after 60 days.

My serving partner has remained overseas and living in our SFA. Will we have to pay two sets of utility bills?
The Army is aware of this issue and will issue further guidance shortly.

We have been allocated temporary accommodation within a 50-mile radius of a property brought using FHTB, will we be breaching the rules?
Rules regarding the allocation of SFA to those claiming the FHTB scheme will not apply for this temporary move, unless the Service person makes the move to the UK a permanent one and has no intent to return to the overseas station.

Education

Will our children be educated remotely from their normal overseas school? Or will they attend school in the UK?
Further guidance will be issued on this. However, UK schools are currently closed, apart from providing support for key workers.

F&C families

We are a Foreign & Commonwealth family, what do I need to do about visas?
Any non-UK national Service personnel must ensure that they and their families are in possession of valid visas and travel documents before travelling. Whilst serving overseas, Service personnel are to ensure passports and visas do not expire.

If you need more support on this, please see our F&C section or contact AFF’s F&C team.

General

Will we need to self-isolate as soon as we return to the UK?
As at 3 April,  there is no need to self-isolate. However, you should follow the Government’s social distancing and lock-down policy.

If you have come into contact with a known COVID-19 case, then you should self-isolate, as per the current Government policies

My serving partner is due to start a new assignment in a few months, how does this affect us?
Any Service personnel who are due to start a new assignment within 6 months of returning to the UK should talk to their Regimental Career Management Officer (RCMO).

If you have no intention to return overseas due to your next assignment, the Service person must inform their Regimental Administrative Officer (RAO) prior to the move back to the UK.

Will I need a TV licence in the UK?
Yes, if you wish to use UK TV you are advised to obtain a licence.

BFBS has secured a contract to allow free access to a facility called Press Release which allows access to up to 7,000 worldwide publications, newspapers and magazines.

Who is going to support our welfare in the UK?
All families evacuated to the UK will continue to be supported through their unit welfare chain. Any families who believe they have additional needs, consider themselves vulnerable or have safeguarding concerns, should contact their UWO in the first instance.

AFF will continue to support all families remotely. For families in BATUK, please contact AFF’s BATUK Co-ordinator, Dawn Fitzsimmons at kenya@aff.org.uk

For families from other locations, please contact AFF’s Regional Manger Overseas, Esther Thomas at rmoverseas@aff.org.uk

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02   BFPO

If you live overseas and need guidance about BFPO services during COVID-19, please see its website for the most up-to-date information.

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